BOYS BASKETBALL: Race for 2014 Mr. Basketball suddenly wide open with Harris’ decision to leave hoops behind
Not only did 2013s Mr. Basketball Monte Morris (Iowa State) navigate his Flint Beecher team to a second straight Class C state championship last week, the field for the 2014 award opened up quite a bit, too.
Following his Grand Rapids Christian squad losing to eventual state-champion Romulus in the Class A final four last Friday night, previous frontrunner Drake Harris announced that he won’t be playing hoops next year, instead choosing to focus on football, where he’s one of the top recruits in the nation at the wide receiver position.
Harris (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) went out blazing, scoring 88 points in his final three games on the high school hardwood (37 in the regional finals, 25 in the quarterfinals and 26 in the semis).
Let’s take a look how next year’s race for Mr. Basketball is shaping up without Harris in the mix.
The Crop (in alphabetical order)
Darrell Davis (Detroit Douglas 6-foot-3 G ) – They call him “Baby D” and he has a monster game in the backcourt as a relentless combo-guard. He can create and score and is a terror on defense with his long arms and killer instincts
Aaron Foster-Smith (Taylor Truman 6-foot-7 F) – This small forward has a high upside and could be in for a huge campaign in his final year as a prepster next winter
Marquwell Jackson (Detroit East English Village 6-foot-5 G/F) – A crafty and athletic swingman that might be the steal of the 2014 recruiting class
Jaylen Johnson (Ypsilanti 6-foot-9 F/C) – Long, lean and mean best describes this human pogo stick in the post for Ypsi, fresh off a trip to the Class A elite eight
Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills 6-foot-9 C) – Most fundamentally skilled big fella in the state, silky soft touch around the rim, finisher on the break, shot-blocking menace, outstanding passer for a center…..and he’s a winner, leading his team to back-to-back league and district titles
Jamal Poplar (River Rouge 6-foot-9 C) – Raw power in the middle for the River Rats, a genuine sleeper in the race for the next Mr. Basketball
Edmond Sumner (Birmingham Detroit Country Day 6-foot-4 G) – Fearless and heady floor general that just led his ‘Jackets squad to a state championship, gifted slasher, set-up man and fast-improving marksman
Justin Tillman (Detroit Pershing 6-foot-8 F/C) – Refined moves with his back to the basket highlight this pied piper of the PSL paint’s super smooth game
A.J. Turner (Warren De La Salle 6-foot-6 G/F) – Prototype shooting guard, who can defend, take it to the rack, pop it from mid-range and long distance and come through in crunch time….the total package on the wing and might be the early frontrunner for the award along with Tillman now that Harris is off the board concentrating on football